Confident Heart

Psalm 57: 7 – 10       NLT

My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Again I find myself understanding why God said David was a man after His own heart. We might say, “He touches my heart,” and how could the Father’s heart not be touched from such an outpouring of love and gratitude?

Personally, I am stirred by David’s confidence. Continually the trust that David had in God appears in his songs. This confidence, or trust, was very real for David. He hung his life on that confidence. Even as a youth, David believed God and His word over the circumstances in the world. That was evident when he faced Goliath for he said to King Saul, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17: 37).

It also seems that David’s confident trust goes hand in hand with praise. Which came first, I wonder. Did praise strengthen his heart? How does one grow into the depth of faith David had in God’s faithfulness? He wrote that his confidence inspired praise, but from where did the confidence originate. One might say, “David was able to exhibit confidence in facing Goliath because he had overcome both bears and lions,” but where did he get the confidence to face a lion?

David was the youngest of all his brothers. His older brothers were experienced, strong soldiers while he was still tending sheep and yet he had the faith of a giant. When he faced Goliath, he wasn’t tall or strong, he wasn’t arrayed in the finest battle armor. Instead, he said, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts.” Now that is some confidence!

I find myself envious of that depth of faith and my soul yearns to stand as tall as that young shepherd boy. Not only did he shame the Philistine army but imagine the reaction of the army of Israel? His own brothers were part of that force, a force that was afraid to march out against Goliath and his cohorts. Were they inspired by David’s heroism? Were they ashamed of their lack of faith in the mighty hand of the Lord? Let us hope that most of them took inspiration from his confidence in God’s unfailing deliverance. What of us? Can we look at this lad and from his faith and actions draw strength into our own spirits? Are we bolstered by his praises and confidence?

If one young shepherd boy can rise from oblivion to the throne, overcoming titanic obstacles along the way, then what can we do, we who have not only the throne of God as our backstop but also the faith of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit? What prevents us from being the mighty warriors of our age? I hope you, like me, feel that longing in the pit of your stomach. I hope you find a voice of praise which rivals even that of David because I believe we will find strength, trust, confidence and might in those praises. Lift your eyes, lift your voices and be strengthened in the innermost parts of your being.

Comfort

Isaiah 51: 12

I, even I, am He who comforts you.

You do not have to rely solely on the comfort of friends because God has assigned the task of comforter to Himself. It is great to have the comfort of friends and family, but they are not always available. There is only one who is with you morning, noon and night. Yahweh, Father, Holy God is with you in all hours of the day. Furthermore, He knows your problems intimately so he can address them better than anyone else.

What’s more, He loves you so much that He does not want to leave the comfort of you to anyone else. He wants to be the one you call first. And you won’t awaken Him if you call Him in the middle of the night.

This is part of your covenant with the Lord. We didn’t even have to ask Him for His part of the bargain. He has freely offered to be your shelter, your refuge. It is a job He sought, not one that we gave to Him. That alone should give you some amount of comfort. He will take away all the sorrow, grief and worry. Just put everything on His shoulders and let Him be the comforter of your soul.

Right Hand Man

Psalm 109:31

For He stands at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those who judge his soul.

Who among you is without need? If you have any need, this verse is for you. Who among you has been judged to your detriment? This verse is for you too. God, the Almighty creator is your right hand man. He stands by you to save and to vindicate. His hand is not so short that it cannot save, that it cannot provide for your needs.

Do we, though, really expect God to be an active player in our lives? Is he more a theological paradigm whose significance is only important when we die? Your answer to that question resolves the question. In other words, how you answer that question determines God’s level of involvement in your life. The writer of this psalm knew God as an active participant in his life.

Culturally we have made God an idea more than a vibrant personality. We have banished Him to the heavenlies instead of allowing him to roam the earth and interact with us. Recall that He walked in the Garden with Eve and Adam. There is no reason He can’t walk in your garden with you too. Jesus has restored what the first Adam lost. That means the original relationship with God, before sin every entered the world, has been restored.

The New Testament revelation is that God’s wants to be involved in our everyday lives. We are beginning to learn what that looks like and how to have it for ourselves. The first key is desire. God promised He would give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37: 4). So, we must begin with a heart desire to have God active in our lives. The second key is belief. As a group, we are increasingly accepting that God is willing and able to participate in our daily lives and not from a removed perspective but right here in the trenches with us where we can feel Him and hear Him. Then as we pray, or talk, with Him about it, mediate on words like the one for today, and ponder these ideas, God speaks to us and leads us into a revelation of living in Him and with Him.

He wants to be our right-hand help. His plan is to be fully intertwined with us so that it even becomes difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. I encourage you to keep pressing in on this idea because Yahweh has a huge revelation that He wants to give to us all. How will life be when God is your right-hand man?

Anger to Compassion

Psalm 56: 7

They don’t deserve to get away with this! Look at their wickedness, their injustice, Lord. In your fierce anger cast them down to defeat.

This verse stands alone well enough but take in consideration the previous two days’ verses because all three of these have been from Psalm 56. David said that people attacked him, plotted against him and twisted his words against him, hounded him, slandered him and sought his life. He had it pretty rough and surely, he was angry and wanted vengeance. He wanted God to punish them for what they did to him. I’ve been angry like that before too and I’ll wager you’ve been in a similar situation at some time in your life. Sometimes you just want God to pay them for what they’ve done, you want them to get what they deserve. Oh, but God has introduced us to a new way of life. It is a life full of God’s compassion and forgiveness.

David wanted God to make those people suffer for all the wrongs they did to him. We know David knew God personally so he would have known God is compassionate and eager to forgive. David’s songs reflect his own experience with God’s unending mercy. Why, then, would David pray for an angry out lash from God?

There is some basis for David’s prayer. In Chronicles God warned, “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm,” (1 Chronicles 16: 22). David probably meets the requirements of each of those offices, and he was the king designate, anointed by Samuel. David respected the office of king, prophet and those anointed by God. He wouldn’t harm Saul even though many would have thought him justified simply because Saul was the king who was appointed by God. David did want God to strike his enemies though. However, God doesn’t have to send a lightning bolt from heaven to strike those who touch his anointed. God’s warning was given as a protection measure just as you warned your children not to touch the hot burner on the stove. God’s anointing carries protection with it so that when someone harms the anointed, there is a backlash against the offender. God doesn’t have to unleash His anger. The anointing is potent enough.

David was angry and wanted God to strike those who harmed him, but he probably also knew that their own acts would betray them. Seeds of aggression always bite the aggressor. Always! Sometimes it appears they have gotten away with it, but it isn’t true. Those offensive acts, like a snake, turn and bite the hand of the wielder. That is why we should pray for these people. As much as we don’t want to, as surely as they don’t deserve it, they need God’s grace and mercy more than anyone. If they have harmed you, plotted against you or twisted your words, they have an axe of doom hanging over them, an axe of their own making, no doubt but a sharp, severing blade none the less. They have sown the seeds of their own demise. Pray for God’s great compassion to wrest them from their deserved harvest. Let your heart feel compassion for them because they are truly wretched, pitiful creatures. Pray that God’s forgiveness and mercy will save them.

God’s heart is not for punishment but for rather for saving grace. He doesn’t want to vent His anger. He wants to redeem. You are His beloved and anointed. Use your standing to save those who have brought the curse on their own head. They don’t deserve kindness and forgiveness but then, neither did we.

Trusting You

Psalm 56: 3, 4b               TPT

But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart. The roaring praises of God fill my heart, and I will always triumph as I trust his promises.

I am enjoying Psalm Mondays and I hope you are too. I wanted to stay with Psalm 56 for another day or two to soak in what David had to share. His experiences are different from ours but the trials themselves are common to us all and I think by reading David closely, we get some important clues as to how to deal with difficult situations. David also teaches us much about trust, praise and a personal relationship with God.

We have learned that fear is a very dangerous pastime. It is fear which nearly destroyed Job’s life. None the less, it is a state that every one of us will experience from time to time. There are several characteristics of David’s writing which I appreciate. First, his honesty and transparency are laudable. He isn’t so tied up with his image of himself that he won’t express the truth of his fear. The other thing that I value so highly about David and am so appreciative that he shares is how he works his way out of fear, despair or sorrow. He expresses the truth of his state and is eloquent in divulging the depth of his emotion, but we also get to follow along as he works his way back to faith.

In today’s passage we see that praising God is what lifted him out of despair on this day. Praise set him free from fear. He took his fears to God and he walked away with trust and the assurance of triumph. I am sure if we could have stopped David in that moment when fear turned to confidence, he would have expressed an unwavering, absolute belief in his upcoming victory.

We too can trust God’s promises and the trust itself becomes the catalyst for success. Trust begets belief and Jesus said we can have what we believe. It certainly worked for David and my bet is that it can work for us too. Be blessed my fellow believers.

Deliver Me

Psalm 56: 1-2, 5       NLT

O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. They are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting to harm me. They come together to spy on me – watching my every step, eager to kill me.

I feel David’s anguish in this passage, do you? As he fled from town to town, he never knew whether he would find friend or foe. Worst yet, some of those he thought to be friends, betrayed him to Saul. Maybe you can relate to David’s angst. Perhaps you feel attacked by a co-worker or betrayed by a friend. Chances are they twist your words too. They may re-characterize what you meant for good into an evil plan. You are frustrated, angry, forlorn and you wonder where you can turn for relief. David had the same problem; pressure and stress on every side, where to turn?

David is an iconic example of a person who learned to run away and hide in the refuge of the Lord. He made it a real thing, not just a lofty idea. He sang frequently of God his refuge in his songs. One of those uses is in Psalm 7: 1 where David wrote, “O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me.” The same idea, if not language, recurs in today’s psalm. It is an anthem to every person who has ever felt attacked, wrongly accused, or slandered.

How did David hide himself away in God when he, like us, has to live in the physical world? Still, to David, this wasn’t poetry, it was survival. When you are spiritually so in the Father, you are less bothered by the problems of the physical but there is more to it than that. Do you remember the time when David was hiding in a cave and Saul went into that very cave to relieve himself (1 Samuel 24: 3)? How is it that Saul didn’t find David? That is where hiding yourself in the refuge of God comes in to play. God may have hidden David behind a shroud. He may have blinded Saul to David’s presence. Maybe God sent angels to form a barricade between them. We don’t know how God does it but He has power which is applicable in this physical world. His spiritual power trumps the physical realm. Therefore, taking your refuge in Him can, and does, have physical world implications. He will confound your enemies. He will bless you in their presence.

Don’t discount the spiritual realm. It is actually more powerful than the physical realm and God can make physical things happen with His spiritual power. It is how He made the earth after all. Get your mind focused on God and His ability to care for you. See yourself ensconced in the fortress that is God. Picture thousands of angels all about your castle and the Holy Spirit presiding over the entire estate. You are safe in the hands of God. Your enemies will pay for their attack. Those who have disparaged you will eat the fruit of their mouths and you will be vindicated. Just pray to the Father, hide yourself in Him and keep your mouth from sinning. You will carry the day.

Share It

Luke 22: 17      GW

Then he took a cup and spoke a prayer of thanksgiving. He said, “Take this, and share it.”

This could well be the example of Jesus’ ministry to the modern world. He gives to us freely and then it is our job to share what he has given us with others. For some people this comes naturally. Whenever they find something they enjoy or that benefits their lives, they tell others about it. This is often the best way to find out about books, movies, nutrition and more. This is how people become Christians. It is also how we become stronger and more mature Christians. People share what is helping them, so we learn and discover without having to go through the full process. I really appreciate when people share ministries or messages with me. It helps me out.

Other people, though, seem to hold everything very close to their chest. They don’t extend those things to others. Maybe they are bashful, maybe they fear offending others. I don’t know but I think when we find something good it becomes like a seed when we share it with other people.

Jesus received the cup and gave thanks to the Father. Then he shared the cup with his friends directing them to share it with others. He modeled what he wanted them to do and Christianity has been passed on in this way from generation to generation. I would like to dedicate today as a day of sharing, and I am going to ask something of you. I ask you to share the Word of the Day with at least one other person today. It might be just the thing they are looking for. It could turn out to be a Divine Connection for them. It might be something you could continue to enjoy together. These daily devotions even make good subject matter for Bible study groups. I can’t think of anyone who would not benefit from a daily dose of God’s word. So, today, let’s share the Word of the Day. Send it out of the country. Let’s see how far we can reach together. You never know who you might touch through your sharing. You might start an evangelical fire in another country. That would be great. We also like hearing your thoughts and comments so share those with us. Be blessed!